Saturday, February 25, 2012

We Need To Talk About Kevin (B)

(This is a fairly spoiler heavy review, so if you're interested in seeing the film: Be Warned)

It's a sad guilty pleasure of mine to throw puns into any review possible. While these puns are generally fairly abysmal, this tiny addition of quirky wordplay is fairly entertaining to write, and in my opinion, makes the review a little bit more pleasurable to read. The title of Lynne Ramsey's recent psychological horror/drama,
We Need To Talk About Kevin, offers the perfect softball for the creation of one 0f these inconsequential puns. However, after viewing this almost despicably bleak film, I cannot regulate enough minor enthusiasm throughout my brain to do so. The sheer unadulterated misery relayed in her film implies Ramsey does not want me to, in any form, have minor enjoyment when writing this review. She doesn't want me to talk about... see, no pun. You are currently reading the real life repercussions of media-induced depression, and it certainly isn't pleasant. Neither is the film.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Oscar Nominated Animated Short Films 2012 (Various)

Continuing last week's review of Chico and Rita, we now enter another aspect of the Academy's choices for the best animated features of 2011; this time with nominees for short film. As this is my first time viewing those nominated for this category (other than Logorama and the various Pixar shorts, I've never seen a nominee before), I entered the crowded theater with vast curiosity, excited to see what these mostly debuting directors could do with the low runtime animation format. Other than a technical dilemma in the theater which rendered the opening short to be incomprehensible, I mostly enjoyed the shorts, but on varying levels. Here are four short reviews for this year's Oscar nominated animated short films:

Friday, February 17, 2012

Chico and Rita (C+)

When the Academy Award nominations were announced last January; in the category of Best Animated Feature a major surprise occurred: Rather than the assumed lock for Pixar's fairly underrated Cars 2, and the partial lock for Rio, two little known foreign films by the names of A Cat In Paris and Chico and Rita were nominated instead. While admittedly some thought Chico and Rita would snag a nomination (and no one could've possibly guessed the latter film, no matter how many children's film festivals they'd been to), the very existence of this Spanish export was relative news to me. A simultaneously innocent and fairly mature animated drama set in 1948, two struggling artists (named Chico and Rita of course) attempt to handle their undeniable attraction for the other, while trying to share their united love of music with the harsh, and constantly changing world around them. While this plot seemed predictable and slightly generic, I was compelled to see this film by its upset nomination, and the gorgeous visuals of a pre-revolution Cuba featured in the trailer. Seemingly this year's The Illusionist in terms of undiscovered animated gems, I wanted to be swept up in this colorful unlikely period piece the same way Chico and Rita are swept into the stunning world of 1950's NYC jazz. However, my expectations were probably far too high, as my enjoyment, or lack thereof, can largely be attributed to two aspects of the film: Impressive visuals and unbelievable storytelling.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Heir Apparent: Largo Winch (D)

Generally, there's minor sadistic pleasure when granted the rare opportunity to write a well deserved scathing review to a near abysmal film. Like blissful revenge, there's darkly edged pleasure in the brutal critique, as if to get back that those who created the intelligence insulting fiascopiece which so wasted your time. Does this feeling of necessary retribution make me a sicking, snobby grouch of a critic? Perhaps, but this low regarding opinion doesn't damper my maniacal enjoyment when writing these rare reviews. I try to be as optimistic as possible when writing, but when there's nothing to be optimistic about, I devolve into a gleeful pessimist. By looking at the title of this review, you may form the implication in your mind that I'm writing this very review with my usual subtly poisonous attitude when regarding films with a "D" rating. However, you would be most wrong. Heir Apparent: Largo Winch is simply too generic and clich├ęd to creatively insult.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Chronicle (B)

For around a week now, I've been struggling to successfully write a full scale review for the new found-footage/superhero/character drama Chronicle, so this mini-review will have to do for the time being. Take this as a Film Crazy edition of the"6 Second Review" series:

By focusing more on character development rather than traditional conventions of both the found footage and superhero genres, first time director Josh Trank has constructed a fine visually unique supernatural thriller. Up until it's throughly predictable and mildly repetitive conclusion, this could've been the perfect bookmark to signify the high point of the found footage cinematic fad. Despite the disappointing conclusion, Chronicle bucks any negative expectations given toward its genre cousins, and should be sought out.

(This review will most likely be updated in the upcoming days)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie (C)

To those who are unfamiliar, or actively dislike the comedic style of duo Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, it may be the best course of action to immediately stop reading this review. Unless you are a fan of their equally bizarre and unique sense of humor, and as result willing to accept a severe lack in narrative structure, it can be safely assumed you will find the film to be abysmal cinematic garbage. Plainly put; for those not amused by bizarre humor, this film will feel like karmic punishment for a crime you don't remember committing. Many will seek this film due to promised cameos by the likes of Will Farrell and John C. Reilly, but will quickly realize their involvement in the film is minimal, with screen-time lasting under ten minutes. Let it be known immediately that I am not one of those people. A newly converted fan of their Adult Swim TV show Tim and Eric Awesome Show: Great Job, I was mainly interested in Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie to see the comedic stylings of these two gonzo comedians unfiltered and brought to the big screen (or at least VOD) without the mandatory limitations of broadcasted television. While I was essentially granted this request, it quickly became apparent that no matter what conditions there might be, you can always have too much of a good thing.